Today’s word is: Imagination.
“The floor is LAVA!!”
I can’t be the only Mom who has been saved by jumping off the quickly melting floor onto the apparently undestructable couch. Or the only one who has had a bowl on her head pretending we are in space. Or running around the backyard with a stick pretending it’s a sword.
Kids love to imagine.
“I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night
It’s important to let kids use their imaginations and for us to help them expand the world they imagine in. Not only is it fun, but it’s part of helping them develop problem solving skills, understand what can and cannot actually happen in the real world, feel a sense of understanding and also fantastic interpersonal skills. Plus, it gives us an opportunity to see what kids have been learning, how they are thinking and feeling, and to role play situations that they might not know how to handle otherwise.
How can we develop the skill of imagination? (Especially as a grown up?)
Read. Reading opens a whole lot of new worlds and adventures and experiences. Words can be woven into a fantastic painted picture or even a movie in your head – and also that of your kids. Read together. It makes it much more fun and you can imagine together.
Ask leading questions. These are questions that don’t have a quick yes or no answer, but involve thought and language to resolve. How and Why are fantastic types of questions that lead to discussions. Listen to their ideas. Give them opportunities to be creative. For example – I had my 9 year old think and imagine how HE would design a garden in two different scenarios: 1- in an apartment and 2 – in the arctic. He came up with some neat designs (which I had him draw and label) and the thought process was really interesting to watch.
Stop being a grown up and get messy. Grab that stick and have a sword fight. Put that bowl on your head. Be a “Yes” parent and get in there. If nothing else, just pretend you are a kid. That will get things going.
Imagination is a vital part of the childhood years. So, go exercise your brain. Find a whole new world!